Paul is on a ship that is sailing for Italy where he will stand trial before Caesar. The trip is turning out to be a lot more stressful and dangerous than anyone had expected.
Acts 27: 9-10 – ”Much time had been lost, and sailing had already become dangerous… so Paul warned them, ‘Men, I can see that our voyage is going to be disastrous and bring great loss to ship and cargo, and to our own lives also’.”
“Men, I can see.” When people are searching for answers and the world seems to be spinning out of control, the responsibility of the Church is to tell the world what we can see from God’s Word. By faith, we see past the surface. We can look beyond the obvious. Because we have our eyes focused on Jesus, we have a confidence about the things that can’t be seen. We know that the things we see are temporary. They don’t last. What can be seen is deceptive. It’s all an illusion and it can’t be trusted.
When our trust is placed in Jesus, we always know what’s real even though we can’t see it. When we’ve become filled with God’s Holy Spirit, we have an obligation to tell the world what we can see; we have an obligation to speak the Word of God; the Word of Truth; the word of Life that will stop the world from destroying itself.
God has called us and commissioned us to keep pointing out the difference between right and wrong; good and evil; truth and deception; the real and the counterfeit. Speak clearly about the difference between righteousness and sin. Faith allows us to see a little of what God can see.
Christians have the ability; in fact, we have the response-ability to challenge and to question the wisdom, the methods, the ethics and the values of this world; to say, “I can see that it will be disastrous if you keep going this way. You will experience great loss. It will enslave and destroy you. Choose Jesus. Choose life.”
Christians have the ability. We have the response-ability to warn our unsaved friends and family members; to warn the world about the inevitable outcome; the disastrous consequences that come from ignoring God’s Word; deadly consequences that result from allowing, accepting and tolerating sin.
Acts 27:11 – “But the centurion, instead of listening to what Paul said, followed the advice of the pilot and the owner of the ship.”
“Instead of listening to what Paul said….” Paul was speaking with God’s wisdom and a heavenly vision, but no one paid attention to what Paul could see. They didn’t want to hear it. Don’t listen to him. He’s one of the prisoners. He has to face Caesar in Rome. Can you blame him for not wanting to sail?
It’s heart-breaking, isn’t it; when we speak and they don’t see; when we try to warn them; when we speak out of love and a genuine concern; when we speak God’s Word of life and truth and they choose to ignore it? The Commander trusted the advice of the pilot and the owner of the ship. The Bible is not taken seriously by people who believe they’re in charge of their own lives; who believe no one else controls their futures. We have no wisdom if we have no fear of God.
Acts 27:12a – “Since the harbor was unsuitable to winter in, the majority decided that we should sail on…”
Paul told them that it would be disastrous to try it, but “the majority decided” that we should sail on.” They were sailing on because everybody else thought was the right thing to do. If my friends think it’s OK; if the rest of the world thinks it’s OK, why should I listen to the preacher?
Acts 27:12b – “hoping to reach Phoenix and winter there.”
Hoping to reach Phoenix and spend the winter there. The world is desperate for hope. The world is losing its hope. Promising to give hope will get you elected to office. People today, especially young people are becoming increasing disappointed and disillusioned with the emptiness they’re finding in the world. People are frightened and they’re giving up. Why bother? What’s the use? Forget the future. Just live in the moment.
The only hope an unbelieving world knows about is an empty hope; an unsure and uncertain kind of hope. The world’s hope comes with no guarantee. Is there a heaven and will I be going there? I hope so, but who knows? Will I ever find out what to do with my life? Will my marriage last? I hope so, but I can’t be sure.
The hope we receive from trusting in Jesus is guaranteed. God’s hope is based on His promises in His Word. The Biblical definition of hope is to wait. To wait for what? To wait for the promises of God to be fulfilled.
“For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.” (Romans 8: 24-25)
That’s our hope. That’s real hope. That’s our only hope; waiting for the promises of God to be fulfilled. God has never broken any of His promises.
“…It is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure…” (Hebrews 6 18-19)
“…a firm and secure” anchor for our souls; for our minds. I know it’s going to happen because God has promised it in His Word. Our faith makes us sure of what we hope for; sure of what we’re waiting for. We’re waiting for God to do it in His time. All the riches in this world can’t buy that kind of hope. Religious rituals; new age candles, cards, chants, smoke and mirrors, bells and whistles can’t give anyone that kind of hope. That firm, secure hope only comes from inviting Jesus into your heart as your Savior and Lord.
Who makes the decisions in your life? How firm; how certain; how secure is your hope? Are you sure you’re going to heaven? Are you basing your future on the truth in God’s Word or are you going where everybody else wants to go; doing what the majority has decided is right?
Christian, is there someone in your life right now who keeps ignoring the warnings you’ve been lovingly trying to give them? They don’t hear what you can see. Keep warning them anyway.
Is there someone you love who just can’t see what you’re saying about the disastrous choices and decisions they’re making with their life? Keep showing them anyway.
Are you praying for them to open their hearts to Jesus, but they seem to be closing them tighter and tighter? Keep praying for them anyway. The Bible promises us it will pay off some day. We’ll see amazing results if we don’t get discouraged and give up.
Keep hoping. Keep telling. Keep praying. They’ll be back. They know what you believe. They know you love them. They know where they can find you when they need you.
That’s a lot for now. If you stayed to the end, thank you. Lord willing, we’ll take this up again next Tuesday.